AP file photo

Sep 3, 2015 10:23 AM

Freed Brady: Judge lets Patriots' Tom Brady play, rules against NFL in Deflategate

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady can suit up for his team's season opener after a judge erased his four-game suspension for "Deflategate."

The surprise ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman came Thursday after more than one month of failed settlement talks between the NFL and its players' union. Many legal experts believed the judge was merely pressuring the sides to settle when he criticized the NFL's handling of the case at two hearings in August.

But the judge wasn't posturing.

He came out forcefully in Brady's favor, maligning the NFL for its handling of the scandal that erupted after the AFC championship game in January, when officials discovered during the first half that Brady used underinflated footballs. New England beat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 then won the Super Bowl two weeks later.

An NFL investigation led to Brady's suspension, which Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld.

After the ruling, Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a statement in support of Brady and the judge's ruling. “As I have said during this process and throughout his Patriots career, Tom Brady is a classy person of the highest integrity. He represents everything that is great about this game and this league.

"Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline. Judge Richard Berman understood this and we are greatly appreciative of his thoughtful decision that was delivered today. Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field.”


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